Category Archives: What’s New

Spring 2016 Park News

We have lots of news, big and small, since our last newsletter.

Trail improvements under construction

Trail improvements under construction

TRAIL IMPROVEMENTS!  The most exciting news is, improvements to the final muddy section of our trail are under way.  Soon we will have dry footing on the entire loop trail.  Many, many thanks to Lower Merion’s Dept of Parks & Recreation for addressing the Number One project on our members’ wish list.

Our Little Herb Garden -- Help yourself to some leaves on your way home!

Our Little Herb Garden — Help yourself to some leaves on your way home!

FREE FRESH HERBS.  If, as you head home from the park to fix dinner, you’d like a bit of basil, parsley, dill, or oregano, help yourself from the herb pot in the Wildlife Garden, just inside the garden gate.  Just remember to leave enough on the plant so it can keep on growing through the summer.  And there are gallon jugs of water next to it, so if the pot is looking dry, feel free to water it.

KNOTWEED WORK DAY REPORT.  During 3 work days in early June (two scheduled and one ad hoc to finish up), 11 Friends of WMC members spent 58 hours pulling out Japanese Knotweed, an invasive plant that increases stream erosion and crowds out wildlife friendly plants.  A big thank you to Julian and Paul Brenman, Ellen and Stephen Briggs, Paula Burns, Michelle Detwiler, Mary Field, Karen Hinckley, Hazel Murphy, Ellen Reese, and Elaine Stern.  We cleared the fenced off riparian area from the park gate all the way down to the second stream access point.  There’s more to do in the final fenced section from the second stream access trail to the end of the park (and elsewhere).  Email us (use the Contact Us tab on this website)  for instructions if you would like to continue this work.

The Ellens, with Lizzie, victorious on a knotweed pile

WEEDING WEDNESDAYS.  We scheduled three garden workdays to weed and cut back overgrown sedge.  We got lots of work done at the first one but there are two more, on June 22 and June 29,  if you’d like to help.  We are sending notices about this only to those who have expressed interest in working as a garden volunteer.  If you would like to be included on that list, just shoot us an email.  Also, garden workdays are always listed on the website so you can check for details there if you’d like to join in.

Garden Award and Volunteer Opportunity

The Ellens accept the Friends of West Mill Creek Park "Go for the Green" award from Brian Hoppy of EAC

The Ellens accept the Friends of West Mill Creek Park “Go for the Green” award from Brian Hoppy of EAC

The Friends of West Mill Creek Park has won a Go for the Green Award!  Lower Merion Township’s Environmental Advisory Council has given us this award to recognize the ecological and educational benefits of our Wildlife and Respite Garden to the Township and our work in creating and maintaining the garden.  The Go for the Green Awards program will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at the Appleford Estate, located at 770 Mt. Moro Road in
Villanova, beginning at 6 p.m. If you haven’t seen Appleford, it’s a lovely historic house and garden, well worth a visit in its own right.  Anyone who would like to attend is welcome to come and cheer us on.

And that brings to mind that gardening season is here!  If you are interested in being on the Wildlife Garden watering team or garden team, please send an email to and  specify watering, gardening, or both.  This will not commit you to anything—it will just put you on the list of people who will receive email regarding appeals for watering, weeding or planting help in the garden.  This way, we will not be bothering people who don’t want to participate in ongoing maintenance with garden-related email.

Note:  When the need arises for a big work day, such as an invasive plant removal project on the stream bank, we will notify the entire membership.

January 2016 Member Survey Results

survey clip art

Q#1:  Should a gate be installed on the entrance path between the parking lot and the main park?

Strongly agree:  65.71%

Agree:  14.29%

Neutral:  17.14%

Disagree:  2.86%

Strongly Disagree:  0.00%

Q#2:  Would you be willing to donate to finance construction of the gate described in Q#1?

77% of respondents (27 people) said Yes.

Q#3:  Should fencing be installed on the far side of the creek near East Old Gulph Road to deter dogs from running onto the road?

Strongly agree:  48.57%

Agree:  11.43%

Neutral:  31.43%

Disagree:  2.86%

Strongly Disagree:  5.71%

Q#4:  Would you be willing to donate to finance construction of the fence described in Q#3?

53% of respondents (18 people) said Yes.

Q#5 :  Are there any other important projects you would like Friends of WMC to pursue?

  • maybe another picnic table or several more benches along the walkways
  • The recent drainage project is working well. Other areas of the path still flood, so these areas need a fix too. Kudos to Ellen x 2, Jill and all else. There are some brick blocks next to the parking lot trash can that need to be hauled off.
  • Drainage continues to be an issue. The large puddle by the creek that is as big as a lake needs to be filled in.
  • Drainage issues, hose to wash down dogs prior to getting into car
  • Build up the walkway on the lower side of the part where it floods all the time.
  • Drainage project expanded to include the two swamp areas and netting along the post and rail fences along the entry path
  • Fill in black mud pond by wooden walk by old Gulph. Dogs wade in it and become black-filthy.
  • Let’s get rid of the pond.
  • more small rock/ sand for dry walking paths
  • continue the work of addressing the persistently muddy areas of the paths

Q#6   Do you have any other comments, thoughts, suggestions?

  • This is very important; thank you!
  • Glad we have you caring and taking action on our park! Many thanks!
  • Safety at the intersection next to the park entrance.
  • Like the idea that dogs be leashed when in the parking lot. Peer pressure works wonders. A gate is a costly partial solution, but if funds can be raised or the township agrees, go for it.
  • Wonderful work so far!!! Thanks to everybody!
  • This needs to get done, I would hate to see another dog lose its life because of improper fencing
  • Since Eliza is one of the worst offenders of running into the parking lot when other people are leaving, I fully support any solution that will keep her from running at full speed across the park and jumping into everyone’s cars. – Duncan
  • I keep tripping over poop. People with loose large dogs need to keep their eyes on them at all times and go to the poop and pick it up.
  • I’m glad you mentioned the importance of keeping all dogs on leash in the parking lot . So many near misses observed.
  • I think other areas in the park are also concern re: dogs’ safety.

Return of Santa Paws

2015 santa pawsOn Saturday, December 12, Santa Paws once again visited our park.  He posed for pictures with our dogs and gave a biscuit and a tennis ball to each good pup.  Hot cocoa, cookies, and doughnuts were available for the humans, and a good time was had by all.  Most important of all, the event raised well over $500 for the Pennsylvania S.P.C.A.  Thanks to all who participated for your enthusiasm and generosity!

P.S. you will be glad to know that Santa Paws got a well-earned vacation and is now believed to be cruising the Caribbean.  THANKS  SANTA PAWS for appearing at WMC Park!

IMG_0938P1000306 P1000305 P1000308

Parking at the Park–Issues and News

canstockphoto22387903As you may know, some of our members were recently ticketed, either for parking on the grass or for being in the park after sunset.  We contacted the police department to better understand their concerns and enforcement guidelines.  We had a very pleasant and productive discussion.  Basically, the bottom line is:

Under existing township ordinances, for public safety reasons, the park is open from sunrise to sunset only, so as soon as it begins to get dark you should finish up your conversations and leave the park.  However, the police will use discretion, and give us a little leeway on getting out of the park.  They agreed to void the parking tickets issued between 5 and 5:15 pm for being in the park after sunset (even though technically they were proper under the applicable ordinance) for this reason.

Also, it is illegal to park on the grass and at the side of Mill Creek Road.

  • Parking on the grass will eventually degrade and ruin the attractive green space which the park provides. In addition, there are environmental issues relating to toxic fluids that drip out of cars while parked, especially because of our location next to Mill Creek.
  • Parking on Mill Creek Road is dangerous, both to the cars and drivers parked there and to people leaving the parking lot. Cars parked there block the view of oncoming traffic.

We fully understand that people are only parking on the grass and Mill Creek Road because the parking lot is full.  We will work on scheduling meetings with the Parks Department to see if there is any way to relieve the parking congestion.  Meanwhile, please park only in the actual parking lot—and always park reasonably close to cars that are already parked so as to save space for others.

Summer/Fall Workdays Report

Karen waters, with Rocket looking on

Karen waters, with Rocket looking on

Our hardy garden volunteers worked hard to keep the garden going in a drought-filled summer and fall season.  We had a great watering team that sprang into action every time Mother Nature fell down on the job, and the fact that almost every one of our 5 trees, 48 shrubs, and 650 newly planted perennials not only lived but flourished shows the success of their efforts.  Thank you Watermeister Mark Wassmansdorf, and team Chris Bushnell, Michelle Detwiler, Bobby Harmelin, Karen Hinckley, Toba Spector, and Ellen Briggs.  

Ellen Reese weeds

Also thanks to our planters and weeders who came out for our three late summer and fall work days and donated a total of 31 hours of work, not to mention their expertise and good humor:  Paula Burns, Celeste DeBeese, Michelle Detwiler, Mary Field, Meredith Greenbaum, Karen Hinckley, Martha Lombardo, Ellen Reese, Ellen Briggs, Peter Briggs, and Stephen Briggs.

Mary Field, Ellen Briggs and Peter Briggs with garden tools

Mary Field, Ellen Briggs and Peter Briggs with garden tools

Active Member Thank-You Party

Friend of West Mill Creek Park party  Friends of West Mill Creek park 5

karl's cake 2

November 2015 Active Members Thank You Party

November 2015 Active Members Thank You Party

friends of west mill creek park

On November 15, we celebrated our 2015 Active Members (all those people who donated time, talent, or financial support to Friends of WMC Park, during the current year).  It was a fun time, especially because we all got to meet the significant others of many of our regulars.  Thanks everyone for coming!!  P.S. We made every effort to invite every Active Member — we did have to straighten out a couple of record keeping mistakes, so for future reference, always remember to speak up if need be.

Great Day on the Bridlewild Trail

Our Bridlewild Guide, Nysa (far right) and our Friends of WMC hikers

Our Bridlewild Guide, Nysa (far right) and our Friends of WMC hikers

We had a gorgeous day for our hike on the Bridlewild Trail, which took place Sunday, October 11.  Leaving from the Beth David parking lot, we hiked the trail to Rolling Hill.  Elaine and Max, two of our hikers, stayed at the corral while the rest of us hiked down to the creek.  Nysa gave us some fascinating history of the mills and other uses of the old mill buildings (including use as a recording studio used by Bruce Springsteen and other celebrities).  And the dogs had a marvellous time, needless to say.  Thanks Nysa for a great day!

Dog Days 2015

Thanks to all who came out and supported us at our Dog Days of Summer Fundraiser.  We raised about $400 (our Treasurer will do an exact count soon) — but even better, we signed up a dozen new members!  We extend a warm welcome to all our most recent members.  A few pictures from the event:  P100011908 14 15_1766 P100012208 14 15_1762 P1000112 P1000129 P100012808 14 15_1759 P100011308 14 15_1768 P1000114 P100012608 14 15_1755 P100011808 14 15_1760

May/June 2015 Planting Blitz

Garden workday volunteers--L to R Wendy White, Martha Lombardo, Linda Pitt, Rocket, Paula Burns, Karen Hinckley with Rocket and Lizzie

Garden workday volunteers–L to R Wendy White, Martha Lombardo, Linda Pitt, Paula Burns, Karen Hinckley with Rocket and Lizzie

A hearty thank you to all the great garden volunteers who participated in our perennial planting blitz.   During our five work days, we planted 620 (yes, six hundred and twenty!) plants and did a bit of weeding besides.  Thirteen planting volunteers–Paula Burns, Michelle Detwiler, Mary Field, Joseph Garrity, Karen Hinckley, Martha Lombardo, Hazel Murphy, Melissa O’Connor,  Linda Pitt, Ellen Reese, Toba Spector,  Wendy White, and Ellen Briggs–donated a total of 48.5 hours to accomplish this feat.

L to R, Michelle Detwiler, Ellen Briggs, Ellen Reese and Melissa O'Connor pause for photo op in May 2015 marathon planting of 450 Blue Wood Sedge.

L to R, Michelle Detwiler, Ellen Briggs, Ellen Reese and Melissa O’Connor pause for photo op in May 2015 marathon planting of 450 Blue Wood Sedge.

Chris Bushnell with newly installed garden sign

Chris Bushnell with newly installed garden sign











In addition, Chris Bushnell once again donated his woodworking talents to  frame and install our beautiful Wildlife and Respite Garden sign, which was designed by Ellen Reese and Gary Stein.  Gary  also fixed the gate hardware for us so it is now a pleasure to open and shut those gates.